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Mar 17, 5:15 AM EDT

Europe car sales grow for 18th consecutive month


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MILAN (AP) -- Double-digit car sales growth in Spain, Italy and Britain helped auto registrations rise in Europe for the 18th straight month.

Europe's carmakers' association, ACEA, said Tuesday that car sales grew 7.3 percent annually in February to 924,440 units. Registrations rose by 26 percent in Spain, 13 percent in Italy and 12 percent in Britain, supporting smaller gains in the region's two biggest markets, Germany and France.

Despite the European car market's steady recovery, registrations have not yet returned to pre-crisis levels.

By brand, Volkswagen saw sales rise 11 percent for a leading 25-percent market share. Mass-market competitors Fiat Chrysler and Renault also saw double-digit increases, while PSA Peugeot was flat. Premium carmakers BMW and Daimler posted double-digit sale gains and market share improvements.

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